Since Space Travel is now possible the obvious next step is set the scene, including venues outfitted with all the amenities – but is beer on that list?
The race to be first beer in space, has inspired breweries around the world to create a version of the beloved drink that would not produce the dreaded ‘wet burp!’
Yes, one of the things holding beer back from a much anticipated blast off, is the side effects of consumption. Carbonated beverages in zero gravity separate liquid from gas forming little floating balls of liquid- not conducive even in a cosmopolitan space scene.
In Australia a partnership between space engineers and a Sydney brewery is challenging the right to claim theirs as the first space-certified beer.
The beer, intended to meet anticipated demand for space tourism, has been developed by a joint venture between space engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia and the 4 Pines Brewing Company, in the northern Sydney suburb of Manly. The new company is called Vostok.
The pair will be the first clients of non-profit space research firm Astronauts4Hire, which next month will sample the beer in a low gravity environment while doing “weightless parabolas”.
A researcher will record qualitative data on the beer’s taste and drinkability and biometric data on body temperature, heart rate and blood alcohol content.
“Humanity has had beer longer than we’ve had writing so, wherever humanity goes, beer is going to follow,” Saber director Jason Held said.
“So if we’re to go into space we need to understand how the human body responds to alcohol. It’s very difficult to drink beer in zero gravity because you have a reduced sense of flavour and anything carbonated is going to have a hard time because gases respond differently in space than they do on Earth.”
Alcohol is banned on NASA space missions and in the International Space Station but Held said this would change with the rise in space tourism over the next two to five years. He said there was a precedent for drinking alcohol in space even among professional astronauts.
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence of astronauts sampling a bit – there is an issue of morale for long-term space missions,” Held said.
“Historically, Russians would have a bit of a tipple in space … even Buzz Aldrin had a bit of wine to celebrate communion on the moon.”
Jaron Mitchell, owner of 4 Pines, said he had already developed the first prototype of the beer, which was based on the company’s regular stout product.
“We’ve made a few little tweaks to our beer that we have here at the bar and in bottle shops and pubs,” said Mitchell.
“Your tongue swells when you’re out in space so therefore you lose a lot of the ability to detect flavour, so we’ve come up with a beer recipe that has a lot of body and full flavour … to hopefully cut through the lack of sensitivity.”
The other issue of liquid floaters has also been addressed by the team, “We’ve changed a few of the properties of the beer to counter both those things.”
Mitchell says he was unsure how the tests would go in November but it would nonetheless provide valuable research. There has not been any official testing of alcohol in space so the team has so far had to rely on research conducted using water, juice and soft drinks.
“It’s just a great little first for humanity and that’s the driver of all this; it’s not to create some huge market because realistically even though space tourism is starting in 2012 it’s going to be a long time until most people can afford to go up there for a weekend,” he said.
In a reversal of refreshment Japanese brewery Sapporo released a limited brand of “space beer” on Earth in 2006, based on barley grown from seeds on the International Space Station.
Source: SMH

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.